Monday, November 21, 2022

Pompeo: Randi and Teachers Public Enemy Number 1

Oh, look! We're already starting the new election cycle by further vilifying teachers.

This frickin' guy
David Weigel (former Washington Post) and Shelby Talcott (former Daily Caller) are new hires as political reporters at Semafor, and they stirred up the clickbait today by getting Mike Pompeo, in his role of coy candidate, to slam U.S. teachers. You're going to see this quote lots of places, but let's commemorate it here as well.

I tell the story often — I get asked “Who’s the most dangerous person in the world? Is it Chairman Kim, is it Xi Jinping?” The most dangerous person in the world is Randi Weingarten. It’s not a close call. If you ask, “Who’s the most likely to take this republic down?” It would be the teacher’s unions, and the filth that they’re teaching our kids, and the fact that they don’t know math and reading or writing.

There it is, fully distilled. Teachers teach filth (the anti-CRT+ movement) and they don't know math or reading or writing (science of reading, high stakes test scores). When you think about it, it's quite an accomplishment-- teachers don't know enough about reading, math, or writing to actually teach it, but they can indoctrinate students with all this commie filth. That's America's teachers--supremely incompetent, and yet the greatest brainwashing conspiracy in the world. Can't teach students to read; can teach students to hate the United States of America. What a pile of baloney. 

There's a follow-up, in which Weigel, not unreasonably, asks that, given Pompeo's dismissal of silly conservatives trying to own the libs:

Criticizing Randi Weingarten, pointing to something crazy in a textbook or classroom — if I’m talking to a Democrat they’d say “that’s just owning the libs.”

I'd disagree. It's not so much owning libs as it is slandering several million hard working Americans who have spent far more of their adult lives working to educate young people than Mike Pompeo ever dreamed about. But he has an answer:

If there’s something in the textbook that shouldn’t be there, it’s okay to identify that and call it out. But that’s just openers. That’s identification of a risk. Then the question is, so tell me how it is the case that you’re gonna go convince the people of Cedric County, Kansas, that they need to identify school board members who are going to push through a curriculum that actually returns to the ideas that made America unique and special.

If our kids don’t grow up understanding America is an exceptional nation, we’re done. If they think it’s an oppressor class and an oppressed class, if they think the 1619 Project, and we were founded on a racist idea — if those are the things people entered the seventh grade deeply embedded in their understanding of America, it’s difficult to understand how Xi Jinping’s claim that America is in decline won’t prove true.

Well, "something in a textbook that shouldn't be there" is doing a lot of work here--who exactly makes that call--but he's crystal clear on his belief in American exceptionalism and the idea that every child should be indoctrinated in that belief. I'm not going to relitigate the entire CRT/1619 Project debate here. Just going to note that American exceptionalism is a scary bad idea, and ahistorical to boot. The "American exceptionalism" crowd often reminds me of an angry fifteen year old snarling "If you say anything at all bad about my girlfriend, I will cut you." Mature love--love of a person, love of a country--sees and understands the flaws and problems. Insisting that they don't exist and we must never ever talk about them is not healthy. Likewise, serious grownups recognize that history is a conversation, not a declaration

There's one other moment to catch. Pushed to admit maybe he's sort of critical and breaking with Trump, Pompeo offers this:

Well, when you work for the president of the United States, you work for the president of the United States. There’s no, “coming out against the president.” It would be deeply anti-constitutional. It’s immoral, it’s not right. And I never did it, and would never.

Anti-constitutional to criticize the President?! Immoral??!! But then, I thought that the folks in the administration were supposed to be working for the country, not the President.

There's more. He talks about the Deep State without using those words, and he cheers for traditional conservatism, which is apparently another term he doesn't understand.

I'll link to the piece here, because I think it's important to cite your sources so people can check your work, but for the love of God, don't click on it because then they'll just do more of this baloney.

In the meantime, congrats to Randi and America's hardworking teachers on being a football yet again for an aspiring rightwing hater who wants to claim to be conservative while simultaneously vilifying the backbone of one of America's oldest and most important institutions, even as the numbers suggest that beating up teachers has not been a successful strategy. May he disappear into the dustbin of history exceptionally soon.

1 comment:

  1. I mean - using a term like "filth." What is he saying? He's saying that anyone who doesn't dedicate K-12 schooling to dinning HIS ahistorical and crude conception of American history into the heads of children is - not wrong, not unhelpful, not confused -- but "filth." This is 100% the language of fascists. It's so astonishing that people can be looking right into this mirror and just not see themselves.